‘Psychology’

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY | THEORIES AND RISK FACTORS – PT. 5

delinquent peer influence | Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Kenneth Padowitz

While individual and family risk factors play a larger role early in life, negative peer influences usually begin to play an increasingly larger role in early adolescence. A relationship between delinquent peer influence and juvenile offending is generally well established throughout the field of forensic psychology; what is unclear though is whether or not this association with delinquent peers is a result of antisocial tendencies developed earlier in life, or if it actually contributes to the overall risk of developing delinquent behavior. It has been suggested that deviant peer groups do in fact influence non-delinquent individuals to become delinquent. According to the National Youth Survey of juveniles ages eleven to seventeen, a common pattern that was seen was a child switching from a non-delinquent peer group to a deviant peer group, resulting in the commission of various minor offenses, and in some cases more severe crimes. Gang membership is also strongly correlated with self-reported criminal activity. It is suggested that the association of peer groups with antisocial tendencies leads to a greater suspiciousness of other people’s motives, resulting in further hostile and aggressive responses to those outside… Read More

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY | THEORIES AND RISK FACTORS – PT. 4

criminal attorney | Juvenile delinquency risk factors

Environmental factors, which include both static and dynamic factors, are also believed to play a significant role in the proper development of a child.It was found that low-income children had a significantly higher risk of antisocial behavior before the age of 5, leading to criminal behavior in adolescence in mixed neighborhoods, compared to those living in concentrated poverty. Non-poor children are also associated with higher levels of antisocial behavior when living in mixed neighborhoods, compared to children surrounded by equally affluent families. Although these individuals are at higher risk of becoming delinquent, the majority of children living in poverty or mixed neighborhoods do not grow to become juvenile offenders; this is referred to as resiliency, a term used to describe an individual’s ability to grow into an adult who lives a socially acceptable lifestyle, despite the exposure to any negative risk factors. Family factors can include parenting practices, divorce, and family size. It has been found that the families of children with conduct problems are eight times more likely to be involved in disciplinary conflict, and are half as likely to engage in positive interactions with parents… Read More

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY | THEORIES AND RISK FACTORS – PT. 3

criminal defense attorney | Risk factors for criminal behavior

In the field of forensic psychological research, not only is importance given to the neurophysiological, cognitive, and psychosocial components of juvenile delinquency that were discussed above, but interest is also given to the various ecological and individual, risk and protective factors of juvenile offending. Risk factors are often used to assess the probability of an individual becoming delinquent, and the chances for repeat offending. Risk factors generally include any individual or environmental factors that increase the likelihood of negative behaviors or juvenile offending. Protective factors are thought to decrease the likelihood of negative behavior, or mitigate the negative effect of certain risk factors. Some factors are considered to be static, which are unable to be changed, such as the increased risk of criminal behavior in the male gender; others are dynamic factors, which can potentially be changed, such as inadequate parenting or discipline. The number of factors, and the length of exposure to them, determines the severity of the impact on the child’s behavior. Individual factors are often thought to be the most influential during early years, and include the individual’s temperament. Low intelligence, and the existence of… Read More

Juvenile Delinquency | Theories and Risk Factors – pt. 2

Juvenile brain development | Criminal Attorney Kenneth Padowitz

Judgment theory identifies three developmental factors that explain why, when compared to adults, adolescents tend to make poorer choices: risk perception and preference, peer influence, and temporal perspective. According to judgment theory, adolescents are more sensitive to reward, and less sensitive to the idea of potential punishment or harm. As an individual develops and becomes a young adult, the idea of potential harm or future loss begins to play a larger role in the decision making process. Throughout adolescence, the way peers perceive an individual becomes increasingly important, placing the individual at a higher risk of being negatively influenced compared to adult counterparts. Furthermore, adolescents are more likely to identify the short-term benefits, instead of the potential long-term consequences; even when the long-term implications are identified, an adolescent has less capacity to appropriately weigh the short and long-term consequences. Deficits caused by these three developmental factors slowly begin to taper off as the individual reaches adulthood. This may help explain why crime tends to rise in early adolescence, with a peak in late adolescence, and begins slowly fading in young adulthood. The executive function, defined as a… Read More

Juvenile Delinquency | Theories and Risk Factors

juvenile delinquency | criminal attorney

Although some individuals may be born with a predisposition to violence or criminal behavior, the general consensus among forensic psychologists is that in the majority of cases, beginning at birth, a child is exposed to various risk factors that contribute to the development of antisocial behaviors and juvenile offending. Juvenile delinquency, the focus of these posts, will be explored in greater detail in terms of the reasons for antisocial behavior and any measures that can be taken to prevent an offending trajectory; beginning with the relevant statistics pertaining to juvenile criminal activity, and the various well-known psychological theories on the causes of juvenile delinquency, including: the theories of judgment and decision making, along with the social neurocognitive developmental approach. We will explore the various risk factors of juvenile offending and recidivism. Recent research findings will also be mentioned as they relate to the discussion of the topic. A brief discussion on adolescents’ abilities to make informed decisions regarding their rights and their criminal cases will also be included in the last entry. In 2010, 4% of individuals 18 and below were arrested in the United States, which… Read More

Hare’s Idea of a Psychopath

Robert Hare Psychopathy

What Is A Psychopath? Psychopath is a term used to describe a person with a certain cluster of psychological, interpersonal, and neurophysiological traits, distinguishing them from the rest of the population. Robert Hare, an expert in psychopathy, describes these individuals as: “…social predators who charm, manipulate, and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations, and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and empathy, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of regret. Hare also separated psychopaths into three distinct categories: the primary psychopath, the neurotic psychopath (also known as secondary), and the dyssocial psychopath. What is a Primary Psychopath? According to Hare, the primary psychopath is the “true” psychopath; secondary and dyssocial psychopaths have little in common physiologically with that of a primary psychopath. A primary psychopath has certain cognitive, psychological, emotional, and neurophysiological differences that separate them from the other types of psychopaths, and the general public. These individuals are believed to be charming, and are often above average in intelligence. Genetics is believed to… Read More

Alcohol & Mind Wandering | DUI

DUI Attorney | Alcohol & Mind Wandering

DUI | Alcohol and Mind Wandering Alcohol has been shown to be one of the leading causes of fatal car accidents; around 58% of drivers involved in fatal crashes were found to be driving under the influence of alcohol in a research review article. An article written by Michael Sayette and colleagues in Psychological Science, suggests a factor contributing to the commonality of DUI arrests: mind wandering. What is Mind Wandering? Mind wandering can be defined as an experience in which an individual is unable to focus on a single topic or activity; the ability to stay focused is important, especially when engaged in an attention-demanding task like driving a vehicle. Sometimes, you may be able to catch yourself mind wandering, and will be able to consciously re-focus your attention on the task at hand. Other times, you may not be able to catch yourself for a certain amount of time. Generally, the older the individual, the longer it takes to catch mind wandering. Half of the participants reached a .05% blood alcohol level before starting the study, and the other half drank a placebo that had… Read More

DUI & DWI | Fatal Car Accident

DUI car accident

Probabilities Of a Fatal Car Accident |  DUI & DWI The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs publishes peer-reviewed research studies and review articles with various topics involving alcohol and other illicit substances. In an article written by Eduardo Romano and his colleagues titled Drugs and Alcohol: Their Relative Crash Risk, the effects drugs and alcohol on the probability of being involved in a fatal car accident are compared. Two studies were conducted with the help of data from the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the National Roadside Survey. One study compares the risks of alcohol to the risk of various other drugs. The second study separated marijuana from the drug category, and compares the risks of all three: alcohol, marijuana, and various other drugs. What did the Researchers Find? Around 58% of drivers that were involved in fatal accidents were driving under the influence of alcohol. Another 20% of drivers involved in traffic fatalities tested positive for other various drugs. Researchers also found statistically significant unadjusted Odds Ratios for both alcohol and drugs. “The unadjusted Odds Ratio of a drugged driver being involved in… Read More

Parental Alienation Syndrome | How Common Is It?

Parental alienation syndrome | Criminal Attorney

Parental Alienation Syndrome During a divorce, most reasonable parents will believe that it is in the best interest of the child if they have a healthy relationship with both parents. What may seem more important at the time is the strengthening of their own parent-child relationship. Parental alienation syndrome occurs when one parent unconsciously, or in many cases consciously, manipulates their child into disliking the other parent. Even if both parents have good intentions, one may unintentionally bad-mouth or make negative comments about the other parent; the child may begin to side with one or the other, and in the most severe cases, will refuse to see or talk to the “alienated” parent. Cases of alienation have been reported even in “friendly” divorces. As cases of divorce have been increasing in recent years, parental alienation has also become more common. Many mild cases, in which the disturbance between the alienated parent and child is subtle, may be misinterpreted as normal part of adjusting to the divorce; many cases of parental alienation and PAS go unreported. Parental alienation is a term, which is focused on the parent’s behavior;… Read More

Displaced Aggression Theory | Road Rage

road rage and displaced aggressio

Displaced Aggression Theory What is Displaced Aggression? Displaced aggression can occur when someone cannot aggress towards the source of incitement or provocation, so instead takes it out on something else and behaves aggressively towards another individual that had nothing to do with the initial conflict. According to Bushman in a 2005 study, “Aggression is displaced when the target is innocent of any wrongdoing but is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.” The individual may need to constrain any aggression when dealing with a coworker or a boss for example, and will direct it towards someone or something else, such as a pet, whenever any mildly annoyance is perceived. Specifically this phenomenon can be referred to as triggered displaced aggression. “Following an initial provocation, the target commits a minor provocation, the triggering event, which in turn prompts an aggressive response.” Anyone objectively observing this aggressive response may perceive it as being far more excessive than what one might expect from a minor provocation. Displaced Aggression and Road Rage Aggressive driving and road rage are good examples of real life scenarios in which the displaced aggression… Read More